Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Past and Future

I have been looking back at old Christmas pictures lately. I am not real consistent about making Christmas cards. Some years we send them out and some we don't. We didn't this year, which I am a little sad about. It's fun to look back and see how much my babies have changed. This picture was taken of Sawyer in 2006, his first Christmas. He turned 9 months old the day after Christmas. I love looking at baby pics of Sawyer. He is smiling in almost every picture we have of him. He was the happiest baby.
This was our only Christmas as a family of 3. We found out we were expecting our second baby in January of 2010.
So, by Christmas of 2007 Jaxon was almost 3 months old and Sawyer was 21 months old. I will be honest, I barely remember this Christmas. I didn't blog much and didn't take many pictures. I was not sleeping much those days. We all looked happy in the pictures I did find. We were tired, but blessed.
See what I mean about the big smiles? Happiest baby ever!
Christmas of 2008 was wonderful. Our boys were 1 year and 2.5 years. We were all getting plenty of rest at night and I was busy chasing toddler boys all day.
Jax was very fascinated with climbing inside boxes that year. He was much more interested in the boxes and bows than he was in the presents inside.
This was the year we thought it would be a good idea to buy our 2 year old a drum set. It was the only thing he asked for and he was so excited on Christmas morning. Yes, we were crazy and no, we don't have the drums anymore. It was also our last Christmas at our home in Texas. We moved to Louisiana the following summer.
Last Christmas was our first Christmas at our new home in LA. The boys were 2 and 3 and had the gift opening thing down. We started our Jesse tree tradition last year and it was so much fun teaching them about the true meaning of Christmas.
It was also around this time last year that we began thinking about expanding our family and praying about adoption.
I am enjoying this Christmas season very much, but I can't help but think about our future Christmases as well. The boys keep asking if Santa is going to bring Mia gifts and they are constantly asking when she is coming home. We were told that it would be a 9-12 month wait for a referral, so if that's true, we should at least know who are daughter is by next Christmas. If it is closer to 9 months, we may even be traveling to meet her around Christmas, which would be wonderful. It is my prayer that we will know her age, have seen her face, and are preparing for her to come home by next Christmas.
Yesterday, my heart was really missing my daughter. I can't help but feel that someone is missing from our Christmas festivities this year. We are so blessed to be on this adoption journey. I am so thankful for our growing little family.
We are leaving today to spend Christmas with my whole extended family. We will also be celebrating my Grandmother's 80th birthday with all 7 of her children and their families. I am so excited to see everyone.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Break

We are enjoying our Christmas break so far. Of course we have been busy finishing up our last minute shopping and gift wrapping, but we have also been relaxing and enjoying our time together. Last Saturday we laid around the house in our pjs most the day before we decided to take a little outing to a nearby Christmas tree farm.We actually have a fake tree that we put up a couple of weeks ago, so we didn't go to buy a tree. We thought the boys would have fun just running around and playing. We were right! They had a blast.
We were the only people there besides the few people who worked on the farm. I guess we went a little late in the season. Sawyer and Jax didn't seem to mind a bit that they had the entire play area to themselves.
They climbed trees, tires, and bails of hay. This was a dream come true for my little monkey, Jax. The boy loves to climb.
They also took a ride on the caterpillar choo choo.
I think their favorite part was the duck races. We could not pull them away from this.
I love all three of my boys.
We have also had plenty of lazy mornings. Every morning little J asks me to make him some "hot coffee." He really means hot cocoa with marshmallows.
We invited some friends over last night to eat dinner and make ginger bread houses.
Sawyer was concentrating so hard, but the pitiful house I put together for him kept falling down. Next time I will just let my crafty friend, Megan, put mine together, because hers was perfect. When I was tucking Sawyer into bed last night he told me, "Thank you for making me a gingerbread house. It's ok if it kept messing up. I loved it anyways." I am so glad my kids give me grace.
Jax had fun playing with his buddy Andrew. His house stayed together, probably because he ate a lot more candy than he actually put on the house.
I am so thankful for this fun season to celebrate our Savior's birth with family and friends.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Polar Express Party

This week Justin took Jax on a road trip to Tennessee. They went to visit Justin's brother and sister-in-law and to go to the Behold the Lamb Concert in Nashville. I really wanted to go, but needed to stay to teach my little preschoolers. He went last year and took Sawyer, so he decided to take Jax this year. So, it has just been me and my first born son this week. I really have enjoyed spending the week with just Sawyer. He is growing up so much and I am so proud of what a sweet little boy he is. I was able to go to his Christmas party at school. It was a Polar Express theme, so all the kids wore their jammies and drank hot cocoa. There teacher read them The Polar Express book and then they got to make a couple of crafts and have a snack.
Sawyer was really proud of his star wars Leggo pajamas. I am not a fan, but he insisted on wearing them.
We are both happy that he is out of school for two whole weeks. He told me he wanted to sleep in every day. Then he asked me what sleep in means. Silly boy! We are also happy Daddy and Jax come back today, so we can all enjoy our Christmas break together.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What's Next?

So, as I mentioned in our last post we are now officially waiting for a referral for our little girl. We were told that the wait would be about 9-12 months. This was actually really good news, because we were first told that the wait would be 12-18 months. Of course, we wish we didn't have to wait at all, but it will give us time to prepare for our little one. It seems like our life has been consumed with adoption education, paperwork, fund raising, and writing really large checks to our adoption and home study agencies, for the last few months. A part of me just wants to sit back and relax(as much as a mom of 2 preschool boys can relax) and wait for the call. But, we are not quite finished with paperwork.

So, what's next? We need to complete our I600 A for immigration and set up another appointment to be finger printed. Once we finish this big step, we will be completely referral ready.

We also want to apply for grants. There are some wonderful organizations that offer financial help to families who are adopting. You have to have a completed home study in order to apply for most grants, so we were waiting for that. Of course, we will continue to fundraise. Justin will continue to take pictures and we are hoping to have a big garage sale in the spring. We still have plenty of t-shirts, so if you would like one please let me know. We have adult sizes in chocolate brown and charcoal gray.

We also have kid sizes x-small-large in sand.

The other thing I want to do while we wait is to continue my own adoption education. If you have adopted or are adopting, what books would you suggest we read while we wait. What book was your favorite? What books have been the most helpful? I would love your suggestions.

We would also loved your continued prayers. I know the Lord has a lot to teach us while we wait.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Official!

We found out today that we officially made the waitlist. Our dossier is complete and it was accepted with our agency. Our case worker called today to give us the news and to let us know our first waitlist numbers. Our number is 97 for a girl! I know it is a big number, but I am so excited to watch it go down every month knowing that families and children are being united.
I decided a while back that when we found out our numbers I would make a cake and write our number in icing. We used a cake to tell our families about our first pregnancy, so I thought it would be special. We also make cakes for everything around here, including stuffed animal birthdays, so it seemed appropriate. Well, today is a crazy day and I do not have time to bake a cake, so I went by the store on my way home. They had one cookie cake left, that was meant for someone else and said, "Best Wishes." Noone came to get it, so they said I could have it. The sweet lady covered over "Best Wishes" with our number.
We also have a siblings number, 41. I have never mentioned on here before that we are open to siblings. It was actually a last minute decision. There is a small chance that we could receive sibling girls (0-24 months). So, there is a chance that Mia Grace could actually be Mia and Grace.
We are thrilled to be waiting for our girl/girls!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

No Numbers Yet, but Thanksgiving Pics Finally

Our dossier was reviewed on Friday. Our social worker called to say that for the most part everything looked really good, but we do need to make a couple of small revisions. We are going to do our best to take care of those revisions soon and hopefully get on the list early next week. I was disappointed that it didn't happen yesterday, but I wasn't surprised. Here we are with our dossier right before Justin mailed it off. We are in our new Children's building, because I was teaching MDO that day.
I never posted any pictures from our Thanksgiving in Texas, so I will do that now. I didn't take many on Thanksgiving day, but we went to a parade in downtown Fort Worth on Friday evening with the whole family. It was a cold night, but so much fun.
Sawyer and Uncle Jon, Justin's identical twin brother.
Our one picture of our family and of course the boys aren't looking. Oh, and are kids did wear shoes, but they had just finished playing on the inflatables in this picture.
Justin's sister and mom walking in downtown.
Justin told the boys to pose like this. Too cute!

Me and my sister-in-law, Kelsey.
Me and my other sister-in-law, Jessica, waiting for the parade to start.

We all had so much fun being together last week. I am thankful for my family!

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is Too Good Not to Post

I have seen this video on several blogs and facebook pages. Justin posted it on his page after I told him he had to watch it. I thought about not posting it, but I can't get it out of my mind. I confess that I have been indifferent to the needs in our world. I pray that I will not just be passionate about a video, but that I will be passionate about Christ. I want to bring glory to Him no matter the cost. I pray that we, the church, would step up and be His hands and feet.

I pray that God will continually break my heart for what breaks His.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Brakeville family

One Smile Closer :: the Young family

Our Dossier Is in Oregon

So, this post is long overdue. I have been slacking on my blogging. This is just what happens when you only have one computer and your husband has about 25 photo shoots to edit and post before Christmas. He has been working so hard and I am really proud of him. This is the time of year where everyone wants pictures and he has been so busy. It has been awesome to see all the people that God is using to help us bring our little girl home.

I know Justin wouldn't do all he is doing right now, just to make extra money. He is working so hard, because his daughter needs to come home to her Mommy and Daddy. I already knew that he was the best Daddy ever, but he just keeps proving it over and over.

So, I got off track a bit. What I really wanted to say is that we mailed in our Dossier on Tuesday. It was a bit of a crazy day, because I had to teach Mother's Day Out and didn't know how in the world I was going to get to the FedEx store. Again, Justin was the hero and he took it to FedEx and mailed it off. We sent it over night to our agency in Oregon and it arrived safely Wednesday morning. I am feeling somewhat relieved, but will feel much better when it has been approved.

AGCI reviews all dossiers on Friday, so they will review it tomorrow and call us to let us know if we need to make any revisions. About 95% of families have to make some sort of revision, so I am fully expecting to have to revise something. Of course, we are praying it is perfect. If it isn't I am praying the revision is small, so that we can get on the waitlist ASAP. So, stay tuned for wait list numbers.